Thanks to all of you who have been following along on my road trip through a lovely part of France. I had planned to make a couple of stops on my way home today, but when the tires began to roll on asphalt, I decided that I had done enough for this adventure. I’ll save those stops for another trip, another day.
I did return to Laguiole, to the cheese shop, to get some things to bring home, and had one more walk around town. I also stopped in Recoules-d’Aubrac one more time to see if the Templar church was open (it wasn’t).
For the past week, I’ve been seeing a lot of raptors flying over the pastures where the cows are grazing. First I identified the peregrine falcons. Then I realized that the big ones I was seeing were griffon vultures, with the vulture’s telltale upturned wingtip. (I saw a griffon vulture next to the highway today, about 12 feet from me, sitting on a guardrail.) And today I realized that what I saw the most of are swallow-tail kites, beautiful and mesmerizing.
With that satisfying piece of info, I turned the car for home, content to close out one splendid driving tour.
I began the trip with Maryse and Claude, who are always prepared with interesting places to see. They are wonderful and fun travel companions. We saw cute towns, including many on the list of “Most Beautiful Villages in France.” We visited one museum and saw museum-quality delights around every corner. We ate well, perhaps a little too well. We laughed a lot.
After five days together, we went our separate ways, and I turned my car toward the volcanic region of Puy-de-Dôme. Very low, very dark clouds brought three days of rain, but when the sun came out on the fourth day, I learned what all the fuss was about. That is one gorgeous region, with so much to be explored, preferably on foot.
Then I headed south, spending a few days quite close to where the trip had begun two weeks earlier. I was in the Aubrac, home to the lovely Aubrac cattle, a landscape that manages to be both rocky and verdant, and a lot of pilgrims on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques.
One of the things I like about traveling alone is that it’s easier to start talking to people, and you never know what you might find out. Every day I met interesting people and had interesting conversations; we shared tips and shared laughter. One couple invited me to stay with them when I travel to their region. I met people from other parts of France and other parts of Europe. These encounters added depth and richness to a trip that was already brim-full of beauty, wonder and adventure.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been talking about all the green. Here are a few last photos, plus a nowhere-near complete list of shades of green. Do you have some greens to add?